Set Apart To Bear Witness, Wednesday, May 6, 2020: Fourth Week of Easter
Acts 12:24-13:5; John 12:44-50
In our meditation yesterday we talked about the difference between an “intentional faith” and an “inherited faith.” Whereas an intentional faith or “intentional discipleship” is eagerness to justify the reason for belief through courageous practice of faith and participation in the life of the parish community, an inherited faith is the one that makes us comfortable being simply consumers limiting our faith to mass attendance or devotional practice solely with the purpose of self-sanctification.
Today’s first reading clearly gives us the purpose of the call God places in front of each one of us. We are set apart for a mission, namely, to courageously bear witness to the resurrection of Christ. Two very important actions are to be considered here: fasting and prayer and the laying of hands. These actions demonstrate the particularity and the divine origin of the mission of the two Apostles. They also reveal the necessity for any disciples to be girded by the Holy Spirit in order to fulfill the mission.
Fasting and prayer remind us of our shortcomings and weakness as human beings set apart to participate in God’s own mission. In our different ways of bringing the Gospel message to others, we so often overlook the necessity of our own spiritual preparation. No one gives what they do not have… To lead others in prayer, a disciple should first turn to God and ask for strength and courage. The laying of hands is a reminder of the Holy Spirit we received in our baptism and with which we were sealed at our confirmation. It also is a testimony that we realize God’s mission as a member and a part of a community – the Church which is the Body of Christ.
Barnabas and Saul are intentional disciples. They embrace the Lord’s mission with confidence and trust, knowing that the One who set them apart will accompany them in the mission He has entrusted them with. Witnesses to the Risen Lord, they preach Christ in communion with what they have received.
Like Barnabas and Saul, we are reminded that God has set us apart for a purpose. That purpose is that we be witnesses and light to the world, following in the footsteps of Him, the Risen Lord who came into the world as light. Like Barnabas and Saul we are called to be intentional disciples, eager to justify the reason for our belief by announcing the message of God’s love and practicing it in our daily life within our parish family and throughout the world.
Let us continue to pray for one another, for our parish family and for the world.